The Woman's Garden
Christina Aguilera (Stripped)
FORGIVENESS (This section was going to be about forgiveness, but I found I was not ready for that. So now this section will be called REMEMBERING. I left in the original sub-title to show that the process of Healing involves a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between stages. This is perfectly natural and ok).
Well - it's been awhile since I've been able to continue writing this story. Much has happened.
I have been continuing to try and remember the exact events of the night when my Uncle sexually abused me. It seems that if I push against the memories, try to force them, then they remain firmly under lock and key. When I allow them to come, then they come.
I can remember the nightie I was wearing, how long my hair was - that I was wearing it down. I can remember that I was simply coming out of my bedroom at night to get a glass of water in the kitchen. My parents and sister were all in bed, asleep. My Uncle was staying with us, and was sleeping on our family couch, in the loungeroom. I remember I was trying to move past the loungeroom quietly, and he suddenly jumped up - like he was greeting an old friend. Of course, now I know that this was not a new practice for him, and with my adult perspective, I can see that it was like he was greeting an old lover.
I can remember that I was just a girl - so young, and so innocent. As I'm writing this, I can feel myself trying to leave my body, and I'm having to tell myself that it's ok, I'm safe now.
He got me to come to him, and I remember him hugging me and telling me that he'd been so lonely. And this is as far as I've got with what he did to me. On our family couch. In our family home, that he had been invited into. The other significant information that I know is that I told a trusted family member what had happened, and when my Uncle was asked about it, whatever he said had happened, was believed. I, was not.
I've done a lot of work on myself over the years in regards to Healing myself and dealing with the memories that have come up around past woundings, and the consequences that have come as a result of how I have reacted to these woundings, both consciously and unconciously, through the years. Some of these past woundings include being raped as an adult, being in abusive relationships,
mis-carrying, and a long period where all I wanted to do - indeed could do - was get completely wasted. All of these things were traumatic, painful and life-changing. But I managed to remember them all, find my way through the darkness of those underworld times, and survive.
The fact that I am still circling my memories of that night with my Uncle, tells me exactly how extraordinarily terrifying it was. My young mind was terrorised into silence, both by him - by his actions and what he said to me to make sure I wouldn't tell - and by my family members' betrayal of me. To this day, members of my family are still asking me to stay silent. To protect him.
FEAR IS A POWERFUL TOOL.
What Doesn't Belong To Me
Sinead O'Connor (Faith And Courage)
FINDING SOME CALM
IN THE STORM
Well, more time has passed. I have had more explosions of emotion and anguish and have experienced some days when I just feel completely alone with what I'm going through. But I have had some enormous breakthroughs as a result of working through these dark times. I have been able to remember some of what was said to me to keep me silent, and I believe it to be an extremely important piece of the puzzle I've been trying to put together. It was about the family member I told about the abuse, and about how if I told them, they'd get angry at me, they wouldn't believe me,
and they'd take their love from me. Well, my Uncle knew his other victim in this scenario, the family member, very well. It turns out that, although he never sexually abused them, he used his abusive energies in other ways, to keep them silent. For this family member is still scared of this abuser, and this is one of the reasons why I am still being asked to protect him. Like I said, fear is a powerful tool. And out of my desire to offer some shelter to the scared, wounded little child inside of the family member who betrayed me out of a need to survive, I will not name them, until they pass over.
We are all given opportunities to break any cycles/patterns in our lives which keep us living in self-destructive ways. Sometimes we are able to rise up to meet these challenges, sometimes we are simply not ready to. In my family, the task of breaking this cycle of abuse was given to me, so that the women in our family didn't have to suffer anymore. Spirit is very determined, and my Ancestors have been working towards this for a long, long time. My calm in the storm has come through my connection to Spirit, to something greater than myself, and through the love and support of my other family, the family I have created; my dear friends, who have proven to me over and over again that it is now safe to speak. That I'm not going to get into trouble anymore. That I can fall back in their arms and be caught, and held. That even though I am still working on weeding out those patterns, those projections, those actions, those poisonous words, that keep me having to remind myself every day that I'm safe, that I'm not going to get into trouble - (a fear by the way, that permeates EVERY aspect of my life, and that is a common ground feeling for survivors of child abuse) - even though I'm still working on recovering my full memory of that night, even though I sometimes misplace my Faith, they are there, patient and compassionate, and they are not going anywhere. They are in it for the long haul, and believe in me.
FEAR IS A POWERFUL TOOL, BUT LOVE IS STRONGER.
I know this absolutely.
And as for forgiveness? Well, I'd like to say that I can wrap up this article with a neat bow and tell you that I've reached this holy pinnacle, but the truth is, I'm still working on it. I don't believe that anything about my journey with child abuse is black and white; I believe that we go through different stages in our relationship with forgiveness as we strip away the layers of pain and grief to get to the heart of the matter. But I have reached a level of acceptance and forgiveness about what happened to me, that allows me to open my heart further to life, and to the love that is all around me. And most importantly of all, it allows me to continue to forgive myself, for things that I have or haven't done, things that I will or will not do, in unconscious reaction to this childhood trauma.
As a Healer, I have learned some very important lessons about, well, Healing. I am reminded once again that the Healing work I do isn't about fixing people, or being fixed; I am perfect, just the way I am, right now. I am enough. We heal as we are ready to heal, and we will never know everything, never arrive at a place where there is nothing more to learn about ourselves. And wherever we are in our journeys, is holy and sacred.
Through sharing a bit of my story I have been able to help myself, and it is my hope that I have also helped you. In the Tarot, the Hermit card pictures an old man holding up a lantern, a light to help Guide you through your darkness. He knows your journey, and is offering you the hope of his example, showing you that you, too, can reach the place where he now stands. It is through sharing our stories and passing on our wisdom that we find the strength to carry on, for in doing so, we learn from the experience of others, we take back our light, and we realise, that we are not alone.
Have A Little Faith In Me
Joe Cocker (Classic Cocker)